PHILADELPHIA — A fiery Doug Pederson shut down most questions about his quarterback situation Sunday, agitated by reports on the subject, but did reveal that Carson Wentz has not yet been cleared for contact with the opener against the Atlanta Falcons just days away.
“First of all, I appreciate y’all putting words in my mouth this week. Therefore, I’m not going to discuss [who the quarterback will be],” he said, in reference to reports that Nick Foles is expected to start Thursday night.
Follow-up questions triggered multiple “next question” responses, a la agent Drew Rosenhaus.
League sources who have weighed in on Philadelphia’s quarterback situation anticipate that Foles, the Super Bowl MVP, will play against the Falcons. Wentz is still on the early side of a traditional timetable for a return from an ACL tear in his left knee, which typically takes nine to 12 months. The Atlanta game comes a few days shy of that nine-month mark. Wentz tore his LCL as well, which delayed the rehab process and made for a more complicated surgery and recovery. The prevailing thought from sources who have spoken on this is that the Eagles want to be cautious when it comes to their franchise quarterback.
Pederson said that he didn’t want to name a starting quarterback in part because he was hoping to gain a competitive advantage.
“A little bit. Yeah, a little bit. [We are] trying to win a football game. I don’t want to put my game plan out there for everybody to see it and read it and teams can scheme,” he said. “It just doesn’t make a lot of sense. So, I appreciate it.”
On a conference call later Sunday afternoon, Falcons coach Dan Quinn opened by joking, “I understand you have some quarterback questions today, so … Matt Ryan will be our quarterback.”
Quinn went on to say that he is just preparing for the Eagles’ offense rather than a specific quarterback, and doesn’t see much of a competitive disadvantage in not knowing for certain who the Eagles’ QB will be.
“If style was so drastically different … probably back in the day and we were having this conversation between Jaws [Ron Jaworski] and Randall [Cunningham], we might have that discussion. But these two guys are really equipped to run it in a similar fashion,” he said.
The quarterback situation has been a sore subject for Pederson. He got testy last Sunday as well, fed up with questions about Wentz’s health.
“I don’t know how many times I can answer this question,” he said after a long pause and a laugh. “When they clear him, he’ll be cleared.”